Combustible Celluloid
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With: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui, William Elliott, Allan Arbus, Sid Haig, Barry Cahill, Lee de Broux, Ruben Moreno, Lisa Farringer, Carol Lawson, Linda Haynes, John Perak, Mwako Cumbuka, Morris Buchanan
Written by: Jack Hill
Directed by: Jack Hill
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 91
Date: 06/13/1973

Coffy (1973)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Coffy'll Cream Ya!

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Jack Hill, Coffy was Pam Grier's first name-above-the-title solo outing. Hill had worked with Grier twice before, in the Roger Corman-produced prison films The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage, and must have had an inkling of Grier's awesome star power. She plays a nurse named Coffin (nickname, "Coffy") whose sister has become addicted to drugs and hospitalized. Seeking revenge, she goes undercover in various guises, including a junkie and an exotic prostitute (with a Jamaican accent), to bring down the crime lord responsible.

The film's high points include the beautiful Grier in all sorts of amazing outfits (and out of them as well). But its real power comes from Hill's potent pulp storytelling and up-front style as well as the novelty of a female hero who takes charge and controls her own destiny. Sid Haig plays a henchman, and Roy Ayers provided the great score. It was a profitable money maker for AIP. It's a favorite film of Quentin Tarantino's, who paid tribute to it in Pulp Fiction.

In 2003, MGM released a DVD with a theatrical trailer and an audio commentary track by Hill. Olive Films released a great-looking, great-sounding Blu-ray edition in 2015, but, sadly, without the commentary track.

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